Spiders say, “No means no!”

Spiders say, “No means no!”

The arachnids have a mechanism to prevent rape.

It seems as if everyone is talking about the anti-rape condom in South Africa, which was actually introduced a couple of years ago. What bothers me about this is not how late it’s making the news rounds, but how it’s being hailed as a rape preventative device when, in fact, it’s not. It doesn’t prevent rape from occurring; it only makes it very painful for the attacker.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m in favor of punishing attackers and making them wary of rape just in case a woman is wearing one of these teeth-filled devices—but women shouldn’t have to do a damn thing to prevent rape. Rapists should. Women should not have to alter their lives in order to not be raped; we should instead live in a world where such attacks do not occur in the first place.That said, I recently discovered that another member of the animal kingdom has the same idea, if not a bit more advanced; scientists have recently discovered that some female spiders create their own body plugs to prevent penetration from male spiders if the attention is unwanted. Since female spiders in the giant wood spider species are often accosted by several competintg males who want to mate—to the point where some of the males will even rip off their own genitalia and “plug” the female with it in an attempt to pass on his genes and prevent other males from doing so—they have developed a defense mechanism to prevent themselves from being attacked by unwanted males. They actually grow their own “plug,” which allows them to refrain from sexual activity with any unwelcome spiders who approach them.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could grow our own plugs, ladies—or leave our vaginas at home, as Wanda Sykes once suggested? It would certainly make things much more uncomplicated, allowing us to roam the park at night, go out alone for fun, and generally live without fear. Sure, there’s still the threat of anal and oral rape, but maybe if we seemed asexual the men who hate women and need to control them so much wouldn’t want to rape them in the first place.

In the meantime, a lot more rapist-blaming and a lot less victim-blaming would be quite nice. If we could all speak up on behalf of rape survivors and make it known that it is their rapists’ faults, not the fault of their bodies or their clothing or their single-at-the-bar status, that they were attacked.